Water for Wildlife

New RIVERSEARCH courses for 2014. Visit the RIVERSEARCH page for more information on RIVERSEARCH 2014.

Water for Wildlife

Essex supports a staggering variety of habitats and species linked by a common thread – water. It is the fundamental building block of life, but something which we often take for granted. In Essex, the shocking manifestation of this neglect was rivers so polluted with industrial and agricultural chemicals that only three decades ago, they could not support otters.

Thankfully times have changed and the Essex Water for Wildlife Project is part of a partnership of The Wildlife Trusts, Environment Agency, Water Companies and other local partners, dedicated to providing a consistent, targeted approach to all types of wetland conservation.

One of the main aims of the project in Essex is to bring Water Voles back to our streams and rivers after twenty years of decline. Since work began on the Essex Water Vole Recovery Project in 2007, voles have been reintroduced to the River Colne and habitat improvements and targetted mink removal has resulted in natural re-colonisation across over 500km2 of North East Essex.

RIVERSEARCH was also set up in 2007 and has trained over 200 volunteer surveyors to search for Otters, Water Voles, Water Shrews and Harvest Mice. Courses are held throughout the year and are open to everyone, regardless of previous experience or knowledge.

For more information on taking part in Riversearch 2014 visit the Riversearch page.

If you require advice on river or wetland issues, or would like to become a RIVERSEARCH surveyor, please contact the Project Officer, Darren Tansley on 01621 862995 or email darrent@essexwt.org.uk

RECENT NEWS - Harvest Mouse Course reveals new population

The first annual RIVERSEARCH Harvest Mouse Course, held at Hanningfield Reservoir in October 2013, was capped off by a field visit to a local grassland area. Within 5 minutes, course tutor Jim Jones had already located a Harvest Mouse nest and shortly after, one of the trainees discovered another close by. A sighting of an adult Harvest Mouse, scurrying across the path into dense vegetation, was a highlight of a day where a new Harvest Mouse population was added to the Essex database. It is hoped that future management of the site will be informed by this discovery.

If you would like to support our work, join Essex Wildlife Trust now.


FilenameFile size
How to survey401.86 KB
Riversearch Otter Information Sheet3.71 MB
Riversearch Survey 2011-20136.32 MB
Riversearch Survey 2009-20101.38 MB
Riversearch Survey 20081.22 MB
Riversearch Survey 20071 MB